Diocese of Portsmouth

Anna Chaplaincy

Anna Chaplaincy – a ministry of the Christian charity BRF – has been established specifically to provide care for older people, especially those living in care homes and sheltered accommodation, and to their families and the staff that look after them. Anna Chaplains also promote the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those facing challenges living independently.

The vision for Anna Chaplaincy in our diocese

Bishop Jonathan made care for older people one of his two main priorities, in his presidential address at the April 2022 meeting of our Diocesan Synod, aiming to create a network of Anna Chaplains across the diocese. The first Anna Chaplain in our diocese was licensed on the Isle of Wight in 2021, and the second in April 2022 on the mainland. Read more about what this ministry involves by following our first Anna Chaplain, Anne Powell, as she leads a service in a care home here.

The plan is to have an Anna Chaplain in every parish, benefice and cluster in our diocese. They are named after Anna, the widow and faithful older person who – together with Simeon – recognised the infant Jesus as the Messiah in the temple at Jerusalem.

The idea of Anna Chaplaincy was pioneered by former Meridian TV presenter Debbie Thrower and the concept was taken up by the Christian charity BRF. There are now dozens of Anna Chaplains across the UK.

As well as offering spiritual care to older people in care homes and the wider community, Anna Chaplains also have a role in helping the elderly to reflect on their spiritual journeys, to listen to the wisdom they have accumulated, and to advocate on their behalf in churches and local communities. Watch this video to find out more:

First cohort of Anna Chaplains
First cohort of Anna Chaplains

Our first Anna Chaplaincy cohort

Here is the first Diocesan Anna Chaplaincy cohort as they went through their paces at a training event in September 2022 led by Julia Burton-Jones, the National Anna Chaplaincy Training and Development Lead.

Having completed the training, the participants will be commissioned in the next few months in their deaneries. By the end of 2022 our diocese will have over 20 Anna Chaplains whose ministry supports the spiritual care of older people.

We are now recruiting for a second cohort of Anna Chaplains, who will be trained in January 2023. If you are interested, watch the video below and download the information pack beneath it.

Could you be an Anna Chaplain?

We're now looking to recruit a second cohort of Anna Chaplains, as we seek to create a network across our diocese. Could you be a person who ministers to the elderly in your local community? Are you a church leader who would like to recruit an Anna Chaplain to your parish, benefice or cluster? If so, you can download some details of the process that is involved, the training that is given, and an application form from here:

If you feel called to Anna Chaplaincy, and if your PCC approves your application, you can then apply for a role. The deadline for applications for the second cohort was October 28 2022. Full training for our second cohort was given in January 2023, and ultimately you may be commissioned to work in this crucial area. Download the forms above to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

During the information sessions and other meetings the Anna Chaplaincy Strategy Group has been asked a number of questions. To support parishes and those intending to apply to become an Anna Chaplain we have created this series of FAQs.